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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Keeping up with the Joneses could pay off in the long run.

Valley real estate expert Dean Wegner said that if you see the neighbors next door doing some remodeling on their house, it might be a good idea to do the same thing.

He also said if you go to sell your house, you may be glad that you invested in the upgrades.

"Banks, appraisers and realtors are going to look at similar homes for comparable sales," Wegner said. "If you have a remodeled kitchen, they're going to compare your home to those that have a remodeled kitchen. The same goes for remodeled bathrooms and closets. They'll be looking at the same type of houses."

Wegner said that not keeping up with improvements that your neighbor makes could cost you dearly when you try to sell your house.

"Let's say that an above-average, 2,000-square-foot home sells for $180 a square foot, but a similar, inferior home only sells for $160 a square foot. Just that little difference of $20 a foot on a 2,000-square-foot house can be a $40,000 difference," said Wegner.

He also said expanded closets and open kitchens with dark countertops are popular right now.

The National Association of Homebuilders says updating your laundry room and bathroom linen closet and knocking out a wall to make your kitchen more open are additions that can drive up the value of your home. The Association says those projects can be done for about $5,000 each, but that you can recover the cost when you sell your home.

Bob McClay, Reporter

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